Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening... Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Monday, May 31, 2004

Why the East is superior to the West?

Author: Masterkung

Within the religious fanaticism you will find a basic lack of understanding of other religions. A comprehensive study of various religions would support the broader view that one supreme and caring Intelligence has expressed itself to different people at different time and in different ways.

Fanaticism comes to people who feel insecure. This broader view gives a sense of belongingness while still allowing people to be well-founded in their own tradition.

There are ten major religions in the world, six from the far east and four from the Middle East. In the Far East, Hinduism is the oldest. Then came Buddhism, Jainism, Taoism, Shintoism and Sikhism. From the Middle East, Zoroastrianism is the oldest, and then came Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Three of the Middle Eastern religions are rooted in the Old Testament: Islam, Christianity and Judaism. In the Far East Shintoism and Taoism have completely separate sources. Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism have roots in Hinduism.

The six religions of the Far East have peacefully coexisted and intermingled over the centuries. Buddhism and Taoism have so completely accepted each other that you can find statues of Buddha in Taoist temples. Hinduism accepts Jainist and Buddhist thought.

Contrarily, the religions of the Middle East with a common root have warred with each other. The brothers of the same house fight while friends live with each other in a coherent manner.

When I was in Japan I met several Shinto priests and Buddhist monks. They told me a story of travelling with President Bush of America. He asked a Shinto priest what the population of Shintoists in Japan was. The priest said, "Eighty percent." And he asked a Buddhist monk what the percentage of Buddhists was and the monk said, "Eighty percent." President Bush said, "How could that be possible?" And they said, "It is possible! Buddhists go to Buddhist temples and Shinto temples and Shintoists go to Buddhist temples and Shinto temples." In this story, we have a healthy model of cultures maintaining their identity and at the same time interacting with each other.

And we can find a model in India also. Within one family you will find Jains and Hindus and Sikhs. Individuals are free to choose whatever representation of Divinity they wish. They are not expected to adhere to the choice of the father or mother. This coexistence can happen when we put values first and symbols and practices second.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

God's Place in Charter Is Dividing Europeans


ARIS, May 25 - As the Europeans haggle over the final wording of their first constitution, they are bedeviled by a three-letter word: God.

Mind-numbing arguments over budget rules and weighted voting can be delegated to technocrats. The issue of whether the most ambitious document in European Union history should include a reference to the Continent's Christian heritage is different, an emotional, theological wrangle over the meaning of culture, history and faith.

"Of course, we have a Judeo-Christian past, but the constitution is inspired by a heritage that is cultural, religious and humanist all at once," Michel Barnier, France's new foreign minister, said after a news conference at the Foreign Ministry on Tuesday. He made clear that France would not bend to new pressure to inject religion into the draft, noting that the constitution should be "secular." The current wording, he added, is "well balanced."

But with the entry of 10 new members into Europe this month, many of them predominantly Catholic, positions have hardened.

The one issue European officials seem to agree on is that there will probably be no agreement on religion before a June 17 summit meeting in Brussels, where the constitution is scheduled to be completed.
Last Friday, the foreign ministers of seven of the 25 European Union member countries, including two old members (Italy and Portugal) and five new ones (Poland, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia and the Czech Republic), sent a brief letter to Ireland, the current holder of the European Union presidency, calling for a last-minute conversion.

"The issue remains a priority for our governments" and "for millions of European citizens," the letter said.
The letter urged "a reference to the Christian roots of Europe," adding in less than perfect English: "The amendment we ask for is aimed to recognize a historical truth. We do not want to disregard neither the secular nature of the European institutions nor the respect of any other religious or philosophical belief."
Granted, the seven may have meant no disrespect. But they know well that Pope John Paul II is firmly on their side. Earlier this month, the 83-year-old pope welcomed the accession of the 10 new member states to the European Union and underlined the Christian values on which the group's unity was based.
At a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday, the group of seven issued the text of their letter to their colleagues.

"We are not talking about a reference to Christian values, but to Christian traditions - hence to a historical fact that no one can change," the Polish foreign minister, Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz, said at a news conference in Brussels.

The week before, Italy's foreign minister, Franco Frattini, said that all that the seven were asking for was "a small inclusion in the text" that "would not alter the preamble too much."
But other governments have insisted that the preamble of the current draft treaty goes far enough. In its present form, it states that the European Union draws "inspiration from the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe."

Apparently in a gesture to Europe's Muslims and Jews, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw of Britain warned at the Brussels meeting on Monday against singling out religious tradition.

"If we were to go down the road of making specific reference to one religious tradition, we have to bear in mind other religious traditions and reference to them as well within Europe," he told reporters.
In his comments Tuesday, Mr. Barnier agreed, saying that the current wording reflected Europe's "pluralism."

Spain, meanwhile, which had argued vociferously for the God-and-Christianity position, abruptly shifted sides when the Socialists swept aside the center-right Popular Party in general elections in March.
The text, Spain's new foreign minister, Miguel Ángel Moratinos, told RFI radio on Monday, "is perfect." He added, "Spain is a Catholic country, but at the same time I believe that in this European constitution our government is rather secular, and in this sense we want to respect the text as it currently stands."
Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer of Germany pointed the finger at others. His own government, he told reporters on Monday, is willing to compromise, but several member states "are not prepared to go beyond" the current draft. As a result, he said, "I dare to prophesy that we will have an unchanged situation on this point."

Mr. Barnier, by contrast, declined to play prophet, saying, "When we speak of God, we should never say never."

Home | Syndicate this site (XML) | Guestbook | Blogger
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors.
Everything else © 2005 Pseudo-Secularism